News

Electricity companies test demand response to reward customers

Along with EDF and EnerNOC, Flexitricity, announced last week that it is working with UK Power Networks on a series of demand response trials, called Low Carbon London (LCL), with big businesses in the capital, beginning with the ExCeL conference centre.
From press releases - 15 October 2012 09:00 AM

Along with EDF and EnerNOC, Flexitricity, announced last week that it is working with UK Power Networks on a series of demand response trials, called Low Carbon London (LCL), with big businesses in the capital, beginning with the ExCeL conference centre.

Siemens, and possibly Price Waterhouse Cooper may join in later. The trials will continue for over a year and establish just how profitable demand response can be.

The project's programme director, Liam O'Sullivan, agrees that demand response can be a double win, both by reducing the need for extra generation plant on the grid, and by providing revenue for participants.

"Energy-aware businesses can gain financial rewards from reducing their electricity demand where this helps UK Power Networks to operate our electricity system more efficiently," he said.

Chris Barnes, building services manager at ExCel, talked about how it would work for him: “Whilst it would be difficult to reduce the demand on the electrical network by reducing lighting and plant demand due to the nature of the exhibition industry, we do have the capability to employ generators to supplement that demand.

"We, in partnership with Flexitricity, have been operating on similar demand reduction strategies (STOR and TRIAD management) for a number of years so it was natural for us to enter into this agreement for Low Carbon London. This has been achieved with no impact on core business."

Liam O'Sullivan is at pains to reassure businesses that their own supply of power will not be compromised by engaging in such activities. "Crucially, this will never compromise security of supply," he says, “as each business will retain full control over how they defer or reduce their electricity consumption for short periods in response to requests from our system."

DSR will be of particular interest to data centre managers, who typically have substantial backup generation plant available in case of grid failure, to make sure their servers are kept online.

To permit the service to happen, systems are installed within the customers’ premises that will enable remote control of generators, although the customer can choose to remain in control of their generating equipment or opt out at any time.

The LCL research will also be looking at whether businesses that can be flexible with their electricity use can also adjust their demand in response to intermittent wind farm generation.

Customers may be asked to use their standby or Combined Heat and Power generation when a fault temporarily increases the strain on the electricity network, and test whether they can harmlessly reduce their demand following a fault.

Justine Brown, Low Carbon London programme manager at EDF Energy, said: “We see the LCL trial as an important step towards shaping the future of demand management and low carbon networks. It’s a fantastic opportunity for our customers to earn additional revenues whilst gaining greater ability to manage their energy demand.”

Marianne Hedin, a senior energy research analyst with Pike Research, agrees that DSR is the future. “From 2012 through to 2018 growth in UK demand response participation looks fairly robust. In this relatively immature and emerging market there is a great deal of growth potential. A 32-35 percent annual growth rate is a realistic figure for this region,” she says.

Source: www.eaem.co.uk
Story: David Thorpe, News Editor